Summary: When a church is on mission for Christ there are three things the devil wants to do to its members and its body. Embarass, Imprison, and Embalm you. But God will do three things if we are on Mission for Him. Encourage, Empower, and Enrich our lives.
Intro: When a church has seen no one “won” or witnessed to the Lord Jesus Christ it will be left alone by the devil. However, if the church is not fulfilling its mission of sharing its faith with the lost the Lord Jesus Christ will correct it. Whether it is financial difficulty, terrible division, or just complete deadness (revelation removing the candlestick) God will correct the church.
What we see today in Acts chapter eight is the church being pressed by the devil the persecutor of our souls. But God is doing something in the church in Acts eight. The Lord is not correcting but is instead protecting. But with the Lord protecting the devil is attacking.
Before we get to the passage today what have we learned so far?
In Acts 1 Jesus promised His disciple’s power when the promise of the Holy Spirit came. This happened when the apostles came together and were praying with one mind in the upper room on Pentecost. The power of God in the Holy Spirit filled and propelled them to reach Jerusalem for the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have also learned that the devil will resist our living and overcoming victorious life for Jesus Christ. We have seen the Godly example of Stephen in his life and death. Today we will see three things the Devil wants to do if we are moving forward in our mission for God. We will also see three things God will do if we are on Mission for the sake and name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
If the enemy will come against us, and God will bless us we must ask what is our mission? John 12.32 Jesus said when He is lifted up He will draw all men unto Him. Our mission is to raise high the banner and name of Jesus Christ. You can bet when we do that the devil will try to curse us. However God will surely bless us!!
This morning we will look at three things the devil desires to do if you are on Mission for the Lord Jesus Christ.
But we will also see three things God will do.
1 Peter 5.8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
· The devil must find those that he can devour. He is not God who sees and knows all. He must stumble around looking for those weak in the faith that are open to his attack.
· I want to show you ways that the devil wants to keep you from moving forward in your mission as and individual and as the church for Jesus Christ.
Job 1.7 Where have you come from? (God didn’t really have to ask)
What was Satan’s reply?
1.7 “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.” (NIV)
(He has been pacing looking for someone to attack.)
God ultimately gives him someone to focus on. Job.
Please remember this
The devil’s power is limited to God’s permission.
The Devil desires or wants to do these to you.
I. Embarrass you
Avery’s observation: It does not matter if you fall down, as long as you pick up something from the floor when you get up.
Acts 8.3 Paul was dragging people off to prison, my how embarrassing.
There is no embarrassment that could compare to standing before Jesus Christ having denied and rejected Him.
II. Imprison you
A) With Fear
1) Of having faith
Acts 8.1 “On that day a great persecution broke out against the church.”
a) It was those that had placed their faith in the Lord
Jesus Christ that were under fire.
b) It was the intention of the devil to keep people from placing faith in Jesus. (His tool persecution)
Listen to Paul’s words in Ch. 26.11
“Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them.”
22.4 “I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison,” (and we think we have it bad today)
1) Thanks to the power of the Spirit and the preaching of 1st century people like Phillip we know that the devils persecution backfired.
2) Thanks be to God the Father that we have victory in Jesus!!
2) Of sharing your faith
a) To the world Stephen shared his faith and lost his life.
b) To Stephen he lost his pain and gained everything!
One of the greatest lies the devil has fed to the church is that we should be afraid to share our faith because someone might reject us or persecute us or even kill us.